Day 22. Let the other person save face.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 22.  April 16, 2011 
I was driving through a neighborhood in Frisco this morning.  I was trying to find a house on ABC Lane.  I found ABC Lane but I could not find the right house number. 

I was baffled.  Am I an idiot?  Am I incapable of following MapQuest directions?  Besides all these concerns… it’s 9:15 am.  I’m late by 15 minutes.  I HATE being late.

I double checked the email my friend Meredith sent with the address details. 

I concluded it was technically impossible for there to be a house that matched the address I had: 502 ABC Lane.  There was1001 ABC Lane, 1002 ABC Lane, etc.  And ABC Lane was a very short street.  I even tried another street ADC Lane—thinking maybe she goofed on the street name.

I decide to call my friend whom I am meeting at this house.  I began with a cheerful voice which is unusual for me so early in the morning.  I said “hi Meredith, I think I’m here—but I can’t seem to find the house.  Is the address 502 ABC Lane?”  

Meredith replies, “yes it is.  Just look for my car.”

I hesitate and ask, “what city?”

Meredith replied, “it’s in Plano.”

(Plano is about a half hour away)

In the past my tone of voice might have changed dramatically at this point.  You see, her email indicated the house was in Frisco. 

Let the other person save face-- dont make them wither.

“Oh!”  I say in a pleasant voice.  “Well, I’m going to be a bit late—I somehow ended up in Frisco.  Please don’t wait on me to eat breakfast—enjoy your meal I will get there when I can.”

When I met up with Meredith I didn’t point out the address being wrong.  I didn’t justify myself for being late.  The morning and day went on quite happily.

The Dale Carnegie Principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 26.  Let the other person save face.

When someone makes a mistake such as giving an incorrect address—take a moment to look at the big picture before you blame, yell or make the person feel small.  Mistakes happen and in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor inconvenience that you can look back upon with humor.  After all, can you imagine what it would have been like if there had been a home on 502 ABC Lane in Frisco? 

Me:  “Hi, I’m here to visit Meredith!” 

Stranger living on 502 ABC Lane in Frisco:  “Who is Meredith and why are you knocking on my door at 9 am?”

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